"It is upsetting to continually bear witness to a system meant to protect individuals like Gray but systematically allows for his death to go unpunished. Verdicts like that of Nero's sends a clear message that our criminal justice system will only protect those in positions of power and privilege. It is a slap in the face for the residents of Baltimore and Black people everywhere to be told to trust and respect a legal process that continues to devalue Black lives and people of color," said Yves Gomes, Maryland resident and APALA National Executive Board Member.
25-year-old Freddie Gray was detained on April 12, and on the same day of his arrest was admitted at the University of Maryland Medical Center where he would remain until his death a week later. Grey suffered from three broken vertebrae, an injured voice box and was in a coma before he died on April 19.
"If there is anything certain in this case it's that Gray did not kill himself. That was the doing of someone else," said APALA National President Johanna Puno Hester. "The policies and practices that protect these kinds of injustices without consequences has to undergo sweeping changes otherwise we will continue to bear witness to the ways in which state violence disproportionately impacts Black lives as well as all people of color. APALA stands firmly in our belief that #BlackLivesMatter and are committed to the ongoing battle of ending mass criminalization in our communities.”
The next police officer is set to be tried in early June, and APALA will stay tuned as the remainder of the case unfolds.